Kim Jong-un looks to cement grip over North Korea's military
Published 05/01/2012 | 08:02
Kim Jong-un has moved to cement his position as Supreme Commander of the North Korean military by visiting one of the nation's most famous military units.
The new leader of the authoritarian regime was pictured with his hands clasped firmly around those of two senior generals, in a ritualistic photograph that strongly echoed the New Year's routine of his father, Kim Jong-il.
His visit to the 105 Armoured Division, the tank unit that led the Communist charge into the South during the Korean War, was designed to boost the martial credibility of "the Dear Young General" who is not thought to have ever served in the military.
In photograph carried by state media he grasps the hands of two aging generals while uncle and regent, Chang Sung Taek keeps a watchful eye.
One of the most pressing questions facing Western analysts is whether the 20-something will be able to assert himself over North Korea's 1.2 million strong Army or whether the generals may gain the upper head over their Supreme Leader.
An official statement released at the same time as the photographs denounced the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, as a "pro-United States fascist maniac" and the "chieftain of evils".